Saturday, March 20, 2010


Sink the Bismarck.

Giving new meaning to going into the drink.

Tasting this Monday at the Toronado from six to nine.

Givn' It a Whirlwind

I really couldn't resist picking up a case of Victory Whirlwind at Wychok's in MT earlier this week.

A very tasty, easy drinking, springtime Witbier.

Victory Whirlwind: Making yard work fun again.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Nationwide Support Your Local Brewery Action Alert

The following is a reprint of something I received in an email on Sunday.

Dear Beer Enthusiasts, Homebrewers, Breweries & Beer-Allied Companies,

We are asking you to support America's small brewers by making a very simple request of your U.S. Representative to become a co-sponsor of H.R. 4278.

Federal legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 4278 (link opens a PDF), seeks to enact a reduction in beer excise tax for America's small brewers.

For small brewers brewing less than 6 million barrels annually, this legislation would cut the small brewer tax rate in half, to $3.50/barrel on the first 60,000 barrels, and reduce the upper tax rate from $18/barrel to $16/barrel on beer production above 60,000 barrels up to 2 million barrels.

Of the 1,525 breweries in America, 962 are brewpubs and 470 are the smallest bottling breweries, which produce volumes of 15,000 barrels of beer a year or less and sell their beers in local markets. Once barrel equals about 13.8 cases of beer.

The original small brewer tax rate of $7/barrel was established in 1976 and has never been updated. Since then, the annual U.S. production of America's largest brewery increased from about 45 million to 107 million barrels and over 200 million barrels globally (or 1,240,000,000 five-gallon batches of homebrew!). Much has changed and the challenges small brewers face as small American businesses have grown dramatically since 1976.

Why is this a good idea?

A tax reduction will help grow small business breweries and provide greater access to the beers you enjoy.
Harvard University's John Friedman's study, Economic Impact of Small Brewers Excise Tax Reduction (H.R. 4278), (link opens a PDF), reveals that H.R. 4278 would also help stimulate job creation quickly and at a low cost:
The bill would generate more than 2,700 new jobs over the first year to 18 months, followed by an average of 375 new jobs per year over the following four years.
Please contact your U.S. Representative and ask that he/she sign on as a co-sponsor of H.R. 4278.

We have developed a resource page to give you the information and tools you need to make the case to your Representative for supporting this tax relief measure—and by extension, for supporting the small brewery businesses that are such a vital part of our local communities.

On the resource page, you will find a link to a list of current sponsors of H.R. 4278. If your Representative DOES NOT appear on this list, please take a moment and email your Member of Congress to ask them to cosponsor H.R. 4278.

If your Representative is already a cosponsor, please email him/her a brief thank you for their support of small brewers and you, the craft beer drinker and enthusiast.

Thanks for helping us advance the interests of all small brewers by contacting your Representative on this issue. Your active support is absolutely essential to our success.

Charlie Papazian
Brewers Association

Gary Glass
American Homebrewers Association

Monday, March 15, 2010

Goodbye Brother

Our youngest brother Chris passed away unexpectedly early Saturday morning at the age of 39.

Chris described himself as a runner, a scooterist, a beginner cyclist, crepe maker, kielbasa maker and software developer living in the hills of NE Pennsylvania.

He loved running. Some of his favorite runs were around Harvey's Lake--he sometimes did two 8 mile circuits in a training session; the Mountain Springs run from 487 all the way down the Mountain Springs road and back; the Deep Six closer to home; the Meyers track where we scaled the fence more than once to get in interval workouts on a good surface; the Devil's Elbow run.

He was tenacious at everything he did. Being the youngest of five boys I think he had to be as he had to always run harder to keep up. He ran the New York City Marathon. He ran the Berwick Run for the Diamonds at the age of 10 and didn't miss more than one or two and perhaps no races over the next 29 years. One summer, at a very young age, somewhere between 10 and 12 my memory tells me, him and all his brothers (save me) and our Dad, rode their bicycles to Maine and back. He was going to ride a bike race on Saturday.

Chris had a BS In Computer Science and he was a great programmer. I remember him and I sitting up all night when I had first gotten a compiler for my Commodore Amiga, writing a runner's log program. He was learning then as we worked together and he quickly surpassed me--he never stopped educating himself at software development and whenever I saw him, he'd have some new .Net book he was reading.

Recently, his artistic and creative side had begun to show itself. He and his wife Laura had married in 2007 and he was very happy. He grew to love crepes and he tried and created what must be 100 recipes or more. He wanted to open a craperie someday. He got a nice smoker for Christmas and had started to make kielbasa and was developing great recipes. Ummm. What Polish boy doesn't love kielbasa?

Chris was a keen observer of life and I have mental images of him sitting amongst friends and family in a group, listening, watching, taking it all in, then offering a gem of wisdom or wit sometimes framing the discussion, sometimes ending it, but usually propelling it into a direction not yet pondered. He was good at that.

He helped me through the darkest part of my life so far, back in 2002 when my marriage was breaking up. For one glorious Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall we trained together every week and he got me into the best shape of my life. He got me to stop worrying and start living again. We did a lot of talking and thinking on those runs.

On this year's Super Bowl Sunday we had started to run together again and were going every Sunday or so since. Our last run together was the Devil's Elbow run two Sundays ago. That was the last time I saw him. Damn! I'm gonna miss those runs!

Chris, I freaking miss you. Walk in the light dude. We'll run again someday.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Visit to Krugel's Georgetown Deli

I met a guy in Krugel's last night and he saw me with two bombers of Breaker Brewing Company 16 Ton IPA, one in each hand.

We had a conversation that went something like this:

“I see you've got some of Breaker Brewing Company's beer, the double IPA. A good choice. Did you ever wonder what they did with all the spent grain and hops from the brewing process?” he asked.

I responded: “Well, I suppose they could let it decompose and use it as fertilizer or give it to some farmer to feed to his animals.”

“You see that cow out there?”, he pointed.

I said “Yeah, her name is Three-Oh-Nina, isn't it?” Silence.

About then it dawned on me: “Whoa. You're not telling me she eats all that stuff?”

“Yeppers. She's got a five barrel brewing system in her belly that's very efficient. And she just loves the taste too.”

“As a matter of fact, her system is so state-of-the-art that it can extract sugar from grain even AFTER it's been used in a normal brewing process.”

“Wow! Who'd a thunk it?”, I pondered.

“Yep. And those big teats? They don't give milk either.”

Monday, March 8, 2010

A fitting end to Old Man Winter

Sitting here basking in the late Winter, late afternoon sunshine, it's fitting that I'm doing so with the Troegenator.

One last wonderful pint.

Good bye Old Man, see you next Winter.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Brass Monkey

Not to be confused with Golden Monkey which has me humming Brass Monkey right now.